Aprilia’s carbon fibre frame ‘not the priority’ for 2024

KTM may have fast-tracked the introduction of its carbon fibre frame into MotoGP but it is currently ‘not the priority’ for Aprilia, the only other manufacturer known to be track-testing the composite technology.
Lorenzo Savadori, Valencia MotoGP test, 28 November
Lorenzo Savadori, Valencia MotoGP test, 28 November

Fast from the opening laps of its surprise public debut in the hands of test and wild-card rider Dani Pedrosa at Misano, KTM’s carbon fibre frame was then swiftly handed to factory riders Brad Binder and Jack Miller from Motegi.

But a month before Pedrosa’s San Marino appearance, Aprilia had caused a stir by trying a carbon fibre frame with Lorenzo Savadori during a private test.

Factory race riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales then tried it at the Misano post-race test, where Espargaro described it as ‘really different’.

“I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say but that the new frame is lighter and I felt also that it is a little bit more flexible, more soft, which is not really what the engineers were trying to do,” said Espargaro, who suffered a scare when he ran wide and had to bail off the bike.

“It's a little bit better on the bumps - corners 1, 14, 15, 16 - but then it's a little bit more unstable [in others]. So we need to keep working.”

Unlike engine development, which is frozen for all manufacturers during 2023, there are no restrictions on the introduction of chassis changes.

Nevertheless, Espargaro and Vinales stuck with the RS-GP's usual aluminium frame for the remaining rounds before the carbon fibre made a return, in the hands of Savadori, at the Valencia test.

“Carbon fibre is not our priority for 2024, we are just riding to analyse some information and receive new information. But we are focussed in another way,” Savadori said afterwards.

“It’s the very beginning [of Aprilia's carbon fibre project]. We started to use it this summer and we need to test more.

“We need to understand some things better on the frame, it has some positive aspects and there are also negatives. But it’s not the priority at the moment for Aprilia.”

Although KTM beat Aprilia to second in the constructors’ standings behind Ducati and had a higher riders’ ranking (fourth for Binder vs sixth for Espargaro), Aprilia had the greater Grand Prix victory tally at 2-0.

Before Pedrosa at Misano, a carbon fibre chassis hadn’t been raced in MotoGP since Ducati from 2009-2011.

Read More